Behind Migadu stands a small bootstrapped, independent Swiss company with great ambitions for the world of email. We are dropouts from large e-commerce and fin-tech businesses with experience in building systems.
In 2014, two of us, Michael Bruderer and Dejan Strbac, started a small Swiss e-commerce project in Zürich. CityPrize.ch as it was called, was our playground. We needed several email addresses on multiple domains for the project and third party email hosting was the obvious solution.
However, wherever we looked, everyone was pricing email per address. That made no sense to us. Actual usage did not matter. What would you say if someone priced storage that way - $5 per folder, max folder size 30 GBs?
Doesn’t that sound like something you would hear in the 90s? Email pricing is essentially stuck there. Today you fortunately know the zero cost of a folder or directory on a storage so you will not accept such pricing.
Why do we accept pricing per email address though, which is nothing more than a folder itself?
Furthermore, for our domains, we paid the registry price to own the full address space. Why do we accept someone selling us single addresses on our own domain?
Being cash cows of many BigCos, email services have all the incentives not to change. To defend their positions, BigCos even work together on “standards” ensuring email gets even more complicated. This makes it even more difficult for small providers to boot and compete.
Offering free services, some of this BigCos have now billions of accounts. If they decide to reject messages from a specific provider, they effectively terminate the provider. The ones who lose there are not just the small providers but also the end users, who are being robbed of alternatives and with it freedoms.
How did we get here?
Email powers have shifted towards a few email providers who effectively dictate the rules nowadays, as well deliverability for the rest of us. To add to the injury, the business agendas of these providers are to limit user’s freedoms, use personal data and lock us in on their domains and non-standard features.
They want communication centralization, something that email was built to prevent.
We were always strong believers in an open Internet and decided to do something about this. Migadu was born. We believe email is too important to be left to a few big providers. We are an independent alternative and we encourage others to start even more.
Thanks to the initial uptake and amazing support from our users, we’ve been profitable shortly after founding in 2014.
We Don’t Advertise
You have probably never heard of us before. Almost all of our users have come through word of mouth. We do not advertise, do not run “social media” accounts, do not do “content advertising” or anything else that plays with people’s minds.
If we need to influence you to use our services, we do not want you to use them.
We do not like being advertised to and refuse to do the same to anyone else. Besides, advertising is expensive and the operators are our largest competitors. Why feed the beast?
We prefer investing that money into building open source projects. It works better than advertising and everyone wins.
No Investments Taken
We have not taken any outside capital nor plan to ever do so. We are not interested in “exiting” our company.
Our focus remains solely on providing the best standards oriented email experience possible and bringing back the email powers to the users.
The Odd Name
One may wonder about the odd name. When you start a company on a shoestring budget, you have to be frugal. We had this domain and decided to use it. It stood for, funnily enough “Michael Is GonnA DU.”
Long story short, Migadu is not Michael’s #todo since a while ago, and now he uses a spell checker before registering domains.
Value of Email Today
Many will agree email is the glue of the Internet. It is our identity online, whether we communicate, create or shop. It is the mother of all social networks.
As such, it is of very high personal and business value. In the era of walled gardens, its openness and decentralization never mattered as much as they do today. No other communication comes close to its simplicity, universality, effectiveness and reliability. Best of all, it is not owned by anyone, which makes it truly everyone’s.
Being invented in 1972, it is already 5 decades old, yet going stronger than ever.
Now the bad news. Email is complicated. It is not trivial to run an email node independently. While running a website can be as easy as copying files, running an email service is a mission, often an expensive one. At times it becomes war too.
This has lead to rise of email providers which either price absurdly, misappropriate user data or take away user liberties.
Some providers arrogantly brag about “fixing” email with their proprietary services or unportable features. If that is not clear already, email does not get “fixed” by a single party. That includes us too.
Email is a community effort. It is an inter-operating, federating system based on cooperation. One literally must see the forest for the trees.
Would you ever pay for disk storage based on the number of folders you have, even the empty ones? Well, why do you pay for email in such way? Addresses are after all only that - addresses.
Would you maybe pay with your private information instead?
Would you like being left without alternatives? When we use an email address at a domain we do not control, we are at the mercy of the provider and domain owner. The address cannot be moved elsewhere without losing it.
We decided to take a stand and fight for the freedom and future of email.
We Are On A Mission
Email belongs back in the hands of the people. We want users to feel the email power and freedom they have been denied previously.
Migadu brings as close to running own email servers without ever having to.
If you want to send a postcard, you can send it to our mailing address below.
Migadu-Mail GmbH Rohnen 587 CH-9414 Schachen Switzerland
However, you won’t find any of us there. We are a 100% remote company.